» Latest Post: November 07, 2015 June 23, 2017 

The Endangered Species Act
Posted By: Scott Weber 01/15/2015 @ 04:26 AM

Quick Write-Up on the Endangered Species Act

     SCI Foundation often writes about issues concerning the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Some issues include endangered or threatened species listings; special rules governing management of listed species; and how the ESA affects conservation, hunting and international trade in wildlife. As we often skip over the basics about the Act, this article will make our readers more familiar with the ESA.

     Congress enacted the ESA in 1973 to protect species and the ecosystems on which they depend. Congress recognized that fish, wildlife and plants are of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” Furthermore, Congress was concerned that many native plants and animals had become extinct and many more were in danger of extinction. Little has changed in the ESA’s structure since 1973. Only two government agencies have the authority to list species under the ESA; the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Species can either be listed as “Threatened” or “Endangered.” The ESA empowers the agencies to list species wherever they occur in the world, but most of the restrictions (e.g., no killing or harming,) that come with a listing only apply to U.S. species. According to the ESA, endangered means the species is in imminent danger of extinction. Threatened is less severe, meaning that a species is not currently endangered but is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, which is established based on the individual species. When evaluating a species for listing, the following five factors are considered: 1) damage or destruction of a species habitat; 2) overutilization of the species; 3) disease or predation; 4) inadequacy of existing protections for the species; and 5) other natural or manmade factors that affect the continued existence of the species.

     The ESA also requires a consideration of conservation efforts by states and foreign countries. The agencies must only rely on the best available scientific and commercial information to determine if the factors establish that the species is threatened or endangered. While the agencies must consider all the factors, they can list a species based on a single factor.

     Listing a species involves several steps and usually takes several years. The most common way a species gets considered for listing is through a petition filed by a non-governmental entity or person, but the agency can itself start the process. Based on the petition and information in the agency’s possession, they have 90 days from the filing of the petition to determine whether there is substantial evidence indicating that listing the species may be warranted. The agency then has one year from the date of the filing of the petition to conduct a “status review,” which normally includes public comment. At the end of the status review, the agency must either (1) propose a rule to list the species, (2) determine the listing is not warranted, or (3) determine that a proposal to list is warranted but precluded by higher listing priorities. Not warranted will end the review process; warranted but precluded will put the species on a list of candidate species to be reconsidered for listing within 12 months; and a proposed rule will start the final decision-making process, which can last 12-18 months.

     The agency must publish the proposed rule, give the public an opportunity to comment, and consider the input of peer reviewers. After this comment period, the agency can decide that the listing is not warranted after all or, it will publish a final rule listing the species.

     This process is complicated by several factors. By statute, agencies have deadlines that must be met in a certain amount of time. If they are not met, interested third parties may sue the agency. Such lawsuits usually end in court orders or settlements dictating how much time the agency has to complete the process. Further, the agencies may extend comment periods and hold public hearings before the final decision is made. Finally, the ESA encourages the agencies to work with state and other stakeholders who will be impacted by the decision.

     Many other nuances can affect any listing decision under the ESA. Learning to understand and work within this process is extremely complicated and becomes even more complicated by ongoing litigation. Overall, the purpose of creating the ESA was to give the government a way to regulate, conserve and restore threatened and endangered species, and the habitats on which they depend. Unfortunately, the ESA has only resulted in the recovery and removal of about 1% of species from the list. Hopefully, with advances in science and technology, lawmakers will work to modernize the ESA to better conserve species.

- SCI  "In The Crosshairs" 

Latest Headlines
11/07 - Grizzly. Delist. Hunt.
10/11 - A Black Man Reflects On Gun Ownership
07/09 - Obuma STILL Best Guns Salesman!
06/04 - Rural Idaho School Arms Up
06/03 - USA Olympic Shooters Earn 4 Medals
06/02 - Movie Star Expounds on 2nd Amendment
05/28 - Pilot Receives Fine For Elk Hazing
05/28 - U.S. Senate: 'Global Whining' NOT Real
05/27 - A Lesson On The Origin of Left & Right
05/25 - CA Coyote Attacks 3-Year Old In Park
05/06 - Colorado Prom Photo Is A Classic!
04/29 - Traveling Aboard With Hunting Firearms
04/24 - Bill Proposes To Alter 4473 Form Questions
04/22 - Chicago Uber Driver Defends With Concealed Carry
04/22 - First Shots: Overcoming the Fear Factor
04/22 - Earth Day 1970 'Predictions' - Ha!
04/22 - U.S. Congressman In Hot Water Over AR-15
03/30 - SCI Reports Trophy Import Rules
03/26 - Avian Influenza Detected In Wyo Geese
03/26 - Chicken Liberal's Weather Report
03/24 - Wal-Mart's Gun Rack: Military Style Rifles
03/22 - Tough NJ Gun Laws Snare Legal Gunners
03/22 - Sheriff Mack: Guns Up, U.S. Safer
03/21 - Hunt For Testosterone and Love!
03/18 - SCI's Lobby Day Is May 7
03/17 - Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act Moving
03/14 - Anti-Gun Dems Push For Ammo Ban
03/11 - U.S. Senator Letter To ATF
03/11 - ATF Pulls Proposed .223 Ammo Ban
02/28 - .223 cal. Ammo Sales Surge!
02/28 - NRA: Wyo HB 114 Gutted - No Go
02/26 - My Insurance Went Up From $189-$403
02/26 - So Very True...
02/26 - Yes Liberals, Yes...
02/26 - Author John Lott Testifys on HB114
02/18 - Concealed Carry On College Campuses
02/18 - PA Town Packin' Heat Signs!
02/16 - Animal Planet Follows Wyo Game & Fish
02/16 - NSSF - Latest Firearms News
02/15 - ATF Rules on Firearm Mfg.
02/15 - Banks Can No Longer Deny Gun Dealers
02/15 - ATF May Ban Common AR-15 Ammo
02/15 - Wyo: Repeal Gun Free Zones Act
02/15 - NRA Supports S. 498
02/05 - Crime Down In 2014 Despite Record Gun Sales
02/05 - Jan. 2015 NICS 2nd Highest In History!
02/01 - Armed Teachers Defend Schools
01/29 - DEA Had Planned Car Plate Data Base
01/28 - Fun Facts You Don't Know!
01/27 - Court Rules with SCI On Lead Ammo
01/27 - Lawsuit To Repeal I-594
01/26 - SHOT Show 2nd Largest EVER!
01/26 - Canada's Top List of USA Stupidity
01/25 - As Always, Women Big Gun Buyers
01/25 - Oh That Obuma... Yet Again So Foolish...
01/24 - Oregon Gun Buyback Big Joke
01/23 - The Girl, Glock and Gunny
01/23 - 'Elephant and the Pauper' Video
01/21 - Kid Rock Scores on nice Mt. Lion
01/20 - Abandoned Winchester 1873 Sparks Research
01/19 - New Book Sheds Light on School Murderers
01/19 - Liberal Dopes: 'Gun Ban'
01/18 - Wyoming 4th Safest State - We're Armed!
01/15 - NRA/SCI Elephant Ivory Litigation Update
01/15 - The Endangered Species Act
01/15 - Safari Club International's Litigation Roster
01/14 - No More Sean Penn Movies For Me!
01/11 - Here We Come Obuma! Sign it!
01/06 - NICS Checks 2nd Highest In December 2014
01/06 - Quick Gun & Ammo News
12/31 - Happy New Year From The Gunrunner!
12/31 - Liberal Anti-Gun Maryland - Watch Out!
12/31 - A Concealed Carry Handgun Lesson
12/31 - Fight Against WA I-594
12/31 - One More 2014 Gun-Related Joke
12/30 - NRA & SCI Ivory Ban Update
12/30 - 2015 Good Year For Wyo Hunting/Fishing
12/30 - Doormat of the Year: See ya!
12/29 - Cody Wolf Shot In Utah
12/26 - Wayne LaPierre: 'When The Glass Breaks'
12/25 - Today's Kids: Lost In Videoland
12/24 - SCI Lawyer Team Fighting For YOU!
12/24 - SCI Files A Motion For Park Elk Hunt
12/24 - Dec. Appeals Filed In Wyo Wolf Delisting
12/22 - MT Self-Defense Verdict: MURDER
12/19 - 200 Lawmakers Band Together Against 2nd Amd
12/19 - 14-Year Old NC Boy Shoots Home Invader
12/17 - Liberal VA Gov Wants More 'Gun Control'
12/17 - Banks Refusing Business With Gun Dealers
12/16 - Liberal Idiots: Blame The Gun!
12/16 - When FREE Stuff From The Gov Is Not Enough...
12/16 - Get your X-Mas Presents FREE In Ferguson!
12/16 - Solution To Ferguson's Rioting
12/15 - Control Dogs Around Wintering Wildlife
12/15 - Ohio Concealed Carry Wish List Passes
12/15 - Texas Lawmakers Move To Open Carry
12/13 - World Murder Stats- Where NOT To Visit!
12/07 - New International Bunkers Propel Team To Victory
12/01 - USA National Shooting Teams On Fire!
11/30 - Florida 'Stand Your Ground' - A Court Test